Salesforce Big Objects: A Blog Banner: Comprehensive Guide To This Amazing Salesforce Solution

Updated On: 23rd January 2024

Salesforce, launched in 1999 by Marc Benioff, is the world’s #1 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) service provider that is designed to automate key sales processes in a company. It also offers a complimentary catalog of enterprise applications aimed at simplifying its key business verticals such as customer service, marketing, analytics, and application development.

Now such a solution is bound to generate loads of data which will not be suitable for eradication. Keeping in mind the common problem of enterprises ultimately running out of their limited data storage, Salesforce came up with the innovative ‘Big Objects’ solution in 2018, which is their big-data-based storage system. 

While functioning as a robust big-data-based storage system, Big Objects address the limitations of ‌ standard or custom objects to store or manage data on large scales. In this article we have tried to elaborate on what is Big Objects & how you can use it to your advantage. Here is the outline:

– How Big Objects Infrastructure Supports, Manage & Store Large Volumes of Data?

– How Big Objects are Classified: Based on Standard & Custom 

– Salesforce Data Archival: A Big Objects Use Case 

– Salesforce Big Objects & its Other Use Cases 

– Businesses Advantages of Maintaining Big Objects 

– Big Objects Vs Non-Big Objects: A Comparison 

– Solution to Overcome Big Objects Limitations

How Big Objects Infrastructure Support, Manage & Store Large Volumes of Data

This innovative infrastructure stands as a testament to Salesforce’s commitment to providing cutting-edge solutions for businesses grappling with the demands of large-scale data management. Here is how we can understand it along with this diagram.

Image explaining the significance of Salesforce Big Objects infra to support archiving large volumes of historical records

Big Objects allows Salesforce customers to seamlessly store and manage an enormous volume of data (usually billions of records or more) within the Salesforce platform. The best feature about them is the guarantee of consistent performance whether the data is 100 million or 1 billion. 

How Big Objects are Classified: Based on Standard & Custom 

Another prominent factor is the ease of accessibility to one’s organization or external systems powered by a standard set of APIs. Broadly, Big Objects are classified into two types:

Image showing the classification of Salesforce Big Objects followed by characteristics

Standard Big Objects – Defined by Salesforce itself and included in its products list, Standard Big Objects are straight out of the box and are non-customizable. Field History Archive is one such Big Object that allows customers to archive their field history data of 10 years or more, aiding in compliance with industry regulations related to auditing and data retention.

Custom Big Objects – Contrary to Standard Big Objects, Custom Big Objects are defined and deployed by the customer itself, through the Metadata API or from Setup directly, to archive information unique to their organization. A Custom Big Object can be deployed using Metadata API by creating an object file; containing its definition, fields, and index; along with a permission set; and a package file. Using Setup, a Custom Big Object can be created by defining its fields and building the index that defines how the big object is queried.

Now that you have a clear idea of Big Objects, let’s unlock the mystery behind them and understand why top Salesforce customers are choosing them to transform their data archival needs.

Salesforce Data Archival: A Big Objects Use Case 

Let’s first understand how Salesforce Big Objects rose to fame as a top choice for transitioning from the convenience of standard or custom objects to Salesforce Big Objects for archive revolution:

1. Horizontal Scaling Approach: Salesforce Big Objects is horizontally scalable, a sheer advantage where objects exceeding millions in data can finally have a haven. For example, when your Salesforce data hits the billion-row mark, those standard objects become redundant. Hence to avoid the budget pinch of extra Salesforce storage costs, preference goes to Big Objects. It’s like a budget-friendly storage unit in Salesforce where you stash away all that historical data you don’t use every day.

Image showing the classification of Salesforce Big Objects followed by characteristics

2. Zero External Dependencies: Since the historical data is saved well-within the Salesforce ecosystem, without ever being exposed to any external system, organizations dealing with sensitive data can easily rely on Big Objects.

3. Archival at Optimum Cost: In addition to being cost-effective, Big Objects presents the advantage of having a huge volume of archived historical data readily available whenever its need arises. 

4. Sustains the Data’s Relational Structure: Unlike other systems, Big Objects eliminate or diminish the need for having to create integrated relationships between archived historical data and then having to maintain them. This evens out the scores to redo data profiling analysis to check the quality. The direct familiarity with the original data framework of Salesforce, makes Big Objects extremely user-friendly henceforth assuring a streamlined experience while using old Salesforce data archives.  

Salesforce Big Objects & its Other Use Cases 

Typically, most enterprises use Big Objects for fulfilling one of these three specific use cases:

  • 360-degree View of the Customer– Custom Big Objects can be deployed to integrate all the detailed customer information in a single place. Comprehensive information about various loyalty programs, feeds, clicks, billing details, provisioning information, and much more can be stored here. This can help optimize customer relationships and get a complete customer analysis report.  
  • Auditing and Change Tracking– Custom Big Objects frequently are used for auditing and tracking purposes where archived data is helpful in keeping a long-term view of the user’s Salesforce usage, mainly for analysis or compliance purposes. This feature is extremely useful in heavily regulated industries like financial, healthcare, and  government sectors.  
  • Historical Archives– The real perk that Big Objects facilitate is the historical archive feature which potentially solves the age-old Salesforce data storage problem. In this, proper access to the historical data is maintained for analysis or compliance purposes while optimizing the performance of the core CRM or Lightning Platform applications.

Businesses Advantages of Maintaining Big Objects 

Big Objects offers businesses running on Salesforce a scalable solution for efficiently managing large volumes of legacy data. Since we have elaborated so much on the specific scenarios where Big Objects are helpful, its best to shed some light on some of the key benefits they provide:

  •  Ideal For Future Storage: Big Objects is essentially Salesforce’s Big Data-based storage system that stores all the important historical data on a secure native platform, guaranteeing highest levels of security & integrity. Even as the company expands and even more data is generated, these storage systems can easily adapt to that and therefore can be relied on as steady means of future storage. 
  • Cost-effective Storage Option: Big Objects offer an extremely cost-effective storage solution when compared to the additional data storage purveyed by Salesforce, that is immensely expensive. An organization can ideally save over 80% of their data storage costs by simply leveraging Big Objects. 
  • Analytics and Prediction: Analytics can be efficiently and effortlessly used on the huge volumes of data stored in the Big Objects and essential insights can easily be narrowed down from heaps of data. This cuts back the need to implement external analytical tools and techniques, thus saving costs even more. 
  • High-Volume Transaction Processing- For scenarios where there are high volumes of transactions, such as financial transactions or e-commerce orders, Salesforce Big Objects can be employed to efficiently handle and store this data while maintaining performance.
  • Long-Term Trend Analysis – Storing historical records allows organizations to perform long-term trend analysis on their Salesforce data. This can be beneficial for gaining insights into customer behavior, market trends, and other historical patterns.
  • Async SOQL: Async SOQL is perhaps the most efficient way of processing a large volume of data in the Big Objects. Being highly scalable solutions, Big Objects use a subset of SOQL commands thereby making it simple for anyone already familiar with SOQL to use them. 
  • Addressing Audit and Compliance Demands: With the introduction of GDPR, it is now mandatory for businesses operating in the EU to store all customer-related data. Using Big Objects, an enterprise can retain its Salesforce data for a longer period of time adhering to the compliance purposes. They are the perfect solution for keeping the customer data within the Salesforce system itself without exposing it externally. 

At this juncture, it is important to point out that Big Objects are merely a storage option and in order to use them to archive the historical data, an archiving solution is necessary. 

DataArchiva, the first & only NATIVE data archiving solution for Salesforce powered by Big Objects, is the one-stop solution for all your Salesforce data archiving needs. By periodically archiving the historical data, DataArchiva can potentially maximize your Salesforce ROI by 85% by saving costs on Salesforce Data Storage.  Moreover, CRM performance will never be affected by the expanding data that can be stored for years. To know more about it, please get in touch with us.

Big Objects Vs Non-Big Objects: A Comparison

Because of the scale that Big Objects operate in, they don’t work exactly like non-big objects and are bound to have some limitations of their own:

Image showing comparison Big Objects vs Non-Big Objects:

Following are the detailed explainer of the above points: 

  • Big Objects support only object and field permissions. This is important if there is a sharing limitation around the object data based on roles.
  • Once a Big Object has been deployed, its index cannot be edited or deleted. To implement this change, you will have to start over with an entirely new Big Object.
  • You cannot define or add a field to a custom Big Object through UI. To do so, Metadata API has to be used which is more tricky. 
  • Big Objects only support custom Salesforce Lightning and Visualforce components, rather than standard UI elements like home pages, detail pages, list views, and so on. This means that you cannot use Big Objects without customizing them first.
  • Only up to 100 Big Objects can be created per organization. The limits for Big Object fields are also similar to the limits on custom objects. 
  • Big Objects don’t support transactions that include other Big Objects, standard objects, and custom objects. They also don’t support features like triggers, flows, processes, and the Salesforce app to manage the scale of data.

Solution to Overcome Big Objects Limitation

If you want to bypass these limitations of Big Objects while still wanting to archive your historical data, you can always opt for the external archiving capabilities of DataArchiva. It is an External data archiving solution for Salesforce customers that lets them archive their significant data to any compatible external database. It also saves over 90% data storage costs, improves the CRM performance, and boosts compliance. 

Explore the product demo to discover how DataArchiva offers multiple 3rd-party clouds & on-prem platform integrations archiving Salesforce. Watch the demo

In general, Big Objects provide a strategy for users to archive a huge amount of data without worrying about storage capacities. They help deal with the huge amount of records and run queries designed for consistent performance at scale. It enables the Big Data capability to the Salesforce platform while ensuring a consistent and scalable experience. In short, Big Objects help Salesforce businesses and developers handle their Big Data easily. 

Looking for an External Archive?

Watch the On-demand Webinar 'Salesforce Data Archiving to External Storage Systems using DataConnectiva' to Learn More

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DataArchiva offers three powerful applications through AppExchange including Native Data Archiving powered by BigObjects, External Data Archiving using 3rd-party Cloud/On-prem Platforms, and Data & Metadata Backup & Recovery for Salesforce. For more info, please get in touch with us at [email protected]
CEPTES has been a pure-play Salesforce platform-focused company since 2010. We are product magicians as well as Salesforce consulting whizzes with 1000+ customers across the world. DataArchiva is CEPTES’s flagship application listed on AppExchange